“I have this weird thing where I feel exhilarated when I cast things off in my life. Let things go. Even things that are important to me. Sometimes I know I’m making the wrong decision, but I do it anyway. Like, I just lost this watch that really meant a lot to me. I bought it after Bottle Rocket. The first nice thing I ever bought for myself and I lost it. Yet I have this feeling of being glad it's gone. I don’t know why.” Luke Wilson
Lofty, dark-haired with a well-built jaw and attentive countenance, movie star Luke Wilson possessed more apparent leading man appeal than his brother, actor/screenwriter/producer Owen Wilson. However, his selection of roles in smaller and quirkier movies frequently placed him in the shadow of his sibling. Coming to fame with his role as the protagonist Anthony Adams in the highly successful Bottle Rocket (1996), a full-length adaptation of the acclaimed short of the same name, directed by Wes Anderson and co-written by Anderson and Wilson, Luke netted a Lone Star Film & Television Award. Luke further increased his star status with appearances in box-office hits such as the Martin Lawrence vehicle Blue Streak (1999), the Charlie’s Angels franchise in 2000 and 2003, Legally Blonde (2001) and its sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), Old School (2003) and Anchorman (2004).
Recently having roles in two comedy films: Mini’s First Time and Hoot (both 2006), the prolific actor is set to star in the upcoming Mike Judge’s Idiocracy (2006), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006, with Uma Thurman), John Dahl’s You Kill Me (2007), Gurinder Chadha’s drama Dallas (2007), the comedy Barry Munday (2007) and the thriller Vacancy (2007). Additionally, Luke is planning to reprise his role of Mitch for Old School 2 (2007).
As for his love life, Luke is well-known for his high profile relationships with such celebrity beauties as Drew Barrymore (together from 1996-98, later reportedly had an affair again while Barrymore was liked to drummer Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes) and Gwyneth Paltrow (began dating in spring 2001, no longer together). Luke remains close to both Barrymore and Paltrow.
Childhood and Family:
In Dallas, Texas, Luke Cunningham Wilson was born on September 21, 1971. He was raised as the youngest of three brothers by his Irish-American parents, Robert Wilson, an advertising executive, and Laura, a photographer. His older brothers are actors Owen (also a screen writer and producer, born in 1968) and Andrew Wilson (actor and producer, born in 1963).
Luke, who earned the nickname One-Take Wilson from the Old School crew, attended the same school as Tommy Lee Jones, the prestigious, all-boys St. Mark’s School of Dallas and excelled at track and field. A star athlete, he still holds the school’s top five all time records in the 400m and 800m. After graduation, he went to the Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, where he carried on the interest joining the school’s athletics department. He didn’t discover a love for acting until attending a theater course.
The youngest boy in the Wilson household, Luke Wilson was more interested in sports than acting. A proficient runner, he didn’t consider acting as a career until taking a theater class in college. He then decided to put sports on the backburner and follow in his brothers’ footsteps to become a performer.
Luke began professionally acting in 1992 when he teamed up with brother Owen and college buddy and roommate Wes Anderson for a 13-minue short about a pair of good-natured Texans who turn to a dodgy life of felony (Bottle Rocket). With Anderson directing and the Wilson brothers acting (Owen also co-wrote), the short screened at the Sundance Film Festival the next year and became a hit after the jury judged it the winner. In 1996, produced by James L. Brooks and Polly Platt, the full-length version of Bottle Rocket opened to some critical raves, and as for Luke, who reprised his role of the hero Anthony Adams, he created an impact with the audiences with his appealing, earnest performance as a young man who finds love. He won a Lone Star Film & Television for Debut of the Year. Bottle Rocket’s success elevated the career of Luke, Owen and Anderson.
After the promising debut, Luke and his brothers moved to Hollywood. Luke was then seen in the independent movie Bongwater (1997), opposite Alicia Witt, and had a supporting role as Calista Flockhart’s partner in the Kevin Bacon starring vehicle Telling Lies in America (1997). He also made a cameo appearance in the film-within-the-film in Scream 2 (1997) and was cast as Drew Barrymore’s boyfriend in the comedy Best Men (1997), also starring Dean Cain and Andy Dick. The following year, Luke returned as Barrymore’s love interest for another romantic caper film, Home Fries. Luke was praised for his impressive acting in the Dean Parisot-helmed film. Still in 1998, the Hollywood up-and-coming actor rejoined Owen and Anderson in Rushmore and costarred with Natasha Henstridge in Bruce McCulloch’s Dog Park (1998). As for television, Luke made his memorable debut appearance with a one-episodic role as a sheriff whose town is occupied by vampires in the Fox hit “The X-Files,” that same year.
At the end of decade, after pairing with Joshua Malina in the Sundance-screened comedy Kill the Man (released theatrically in 2001), Luke stepped in to the blockbuster realm with a costarring role opposite Martin Lawrence in the high profile Blue Streak, where he portrayed the straight man to Lawrence’s con-man-turned-cop. Directed by Les Mayfield, the action/comedy was a hit, grossing almost $70 million. Luke’s mounting status was further confirmed when he signed to appear in four movies within a year. He first attractively played Dink Jenkins in the Frankie Muniz and Diane Lane vehicle My Dog Skip (2000) and then was cast as Carl, Heather Graham's alienated husband, in Committed (2000) before starring in the title role of the independent thriller Preston Tylk (2000). He then had a notable supporting role as Pete Komisky in the successful Charlie’s Angels (2000), a role which brought Luke a wider audience. He went on to collect a legion of fans with his role as Reese Witherspoon’s boyfriend in the winning comedy Legally Blonde, the next year. It was followed by performances in the thriller Soul Survivors (2001), the Wes Anderson-directed and Owen/Anderson-written, critically successful The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, as a tennis phenomenon who later falls for his adopted sister, played by Gwyneth Paltrow)) and the romantic comedy The Third Wheel (2002, filmed in 1999).
In 2003, after a role in Masked and Anonymous, Luke’s career gained another boost when he teamed up with Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell in the box office hit Old School. The collaboration also handed the trio a MTV Movie nomination for Best On-Screen Team. After the victory, Luke was romantically involved with Kate Hudson in Alex & Emma (2003) and rounded out the triumphant year by reprising his roles in two blockbuster sequels: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.
Luke next had a jocular cameo with his brother Owen, portraying the flying brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, in Jackie Chan’s Around the World in 80 Days (2004), delivered a fine supporting turn as Frank Vitchard in the Will Ferrell hit comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy (2004), appeared in the star-studded ensemble of The Family Stone (2005), with Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Sarah Jessica Parker, and took on triple duty as a star, co-director (with brother Andrew) and co-screenwriter (with Owen) in The Wendell Baker Story (2005). During 2002-05, Luke also made a rare TV appearance in several episodes of Fox’s serial “That ‘70s Show,” playing Ashton Kutchner’s older brother Casey.
The gifted actor stars with Alec Baldwin and Nikki Reed in the comedy Mini’s First Time (2006) and as an awkward, but well-meaning, cop in the family comedy Hoot (2006), opposite Logan Lerman, Brie Larson and Cody Linley. Luke will soon play roles in Mike Judge’s Idiocracy (2006) and My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006, with Uma Thurman). In 2007, he is scheduled to perform in John Dahl’s You Kill Me, Gurinder Chadha’s drama Dallas, the comedy Barry Munday, the second installment Old School 2, and the thriller Vacancy, opposite Sarah Jessica Parker.
Lone Star Film & Television: Special Award - Debut of the Year, Bottle Rocket, 1996